Johnson & Johnson To Pay $700,000 Over Ruptured Tendon Case

December 9, 2010

Johnson & Johnson To Pay $700,000 Over Ruptured Tendon Case

Johnson & Johnson’s legal woes continue as a Bloomberg article reports that the drug giant “failed to properly warn of the risks of tendon damage linked to its antibiotic Levaquin.”  This was found by a Minnesota jury “in the first trial on claims over the drug,” the news source explains.

John Schedin, 82, was awarded $700,000 by the Minneapolis federal court jury “for failure to warn,” the news source reports. However, Bloomberg explains “It rejected his claim that J&J violated state consumer-fraud law by misrepresenting or concealing information about Levaquin.” Jurors continue to consider the punitive damages claim, the news source reports.

Bloomberg explains that in 2008, Schedin “sued J&J and its Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit, claiming he ruptured both Achilles tendons after taking the drug.” The article reports that Schedin claimed the companies failed to warn both doctors and patients of Levaquin’s potential to cause tendon damage.

Bloomberg reports that this is just the first of over “2,600 claims in U.S. courts alleging that Levaquin caused tendon damage in patients and that New Brunswick, New Jersey-based J&J failed to disclose the risk adequately.”

This is just the latest knock against the pharmaceutical manufacture recently. In addition to the thousands of potential suits stemming from its allegedly defective hip systems, J&J has also endured a number of medication recalls. 

Although J&J decided to “revamp its quality controls, creating a single framework for its drug, medical device and consumer health care divisions,” a New York Times article explained in August, the company has continued to have problems and receive complaints from consumers. Those efforts at “quality control reorganization” came after several “recent recalls of Tylenol, Motrin and other products by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a unit of Johnson & Johnson,” the Times article goes on to explain.

This latest recall goes back to 2008, when “the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required J&J and makers of related drugs in the class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones to include warnings on the risk of tendon ruptures,” Bloomberg reports. The news source goes on to explain that the FDA said “The risk was higher in patients older than 60, those taking steroids and recipients of kidney, heart or lung transplants.”

Bloomberg continues, saying “The plaintiffs claim the label warning should have been improved earlier and remains inadequate. They also say J&J and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen boosted sales by downplaying risks.” Mikal Watts, Schedin’s lawyer, claimed in the Dec. 6 closing arguments for the trial that “‘They obfuscated and manipulated the truth for profit.’”

According to Bloomberg, J&J company lawyers explained in a court filing last month that Levaquin “has been prescribed more than 430 million times worldwide.” Bloomberg reports that these company lawyers said that Schedin has no proof that their company’s product caused the plaintiff’s tendon rupture.

The news source reports that “Schedin is seeking punitive damages, claiming that Ortho- McNeil acted with deliberate disregard for safety.” According to Schedin’s complaint, he was “prescribed Levaquin and a steroid for an upper respiratory infection in 2005,” but would have been prescribed another antibiotic if he had known about the risks of this product.

If you or a loved one has experienced serious side effects or health complications with a Johnson & Johnson product, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with hazardous medication. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Fisk, Margaret Cronin and Beth Hawkins. (December 8, 2010) “Johnson and Johnson Ordered to Pay $700,000 Over Flawed Levaquin Warning.” Retrieved on December 8, 2010 from Bloomberg News. 

Singer, Natasha. (August 18, 2010) “Johnson & Joohnson Moves to Ensure Drug Safety.” Retrieved on December 8, 2010 from The New York Times.

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